The Year in Weed – The Top Cannabis News Stories of 2013


Cheri Sicard, NORML Women's AllianceIt’s that time of year again, time to wrap up the year’s most important marijuana news stories.  Hold on to your hats, a whole lot happened in the world of weed this year!

Uruguay Becomes First Nation to Legalize Marijuana Trade – Uruguay became the first country to legalize the growing, sale and smoking of marijuana , a pioneering social experiment that will be closely watched by other nations debating drug liberalization. A government-sponsored bill approved by 16-13 votes in the Senate provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals in the small South American nation. Backers of the law, some smoking joints, gathered near Congress holding green balloons, Jamaican flags in homage to Bob Marley and a sign saying: “Cultivating freedom, Uruguay grows.”

Bill in House Would Legalize Marijuana at Federal Level – House Resolution 499, currently buried in committee, would put an end to the federal prohibition of marijuana. The bill was introduced by Representative Jared Polis of Colorado.  The bill, aptly named the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, is crystal clear in its intent. The summary available to Congress in part states that the bill: “Eliminates marijuana as: (1) a controlled substance for purposes of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act or the National Forest System Drug Control Act of 1986, (2) a dangerous drug for purposes of federal criminal code provisions authorizing interception of communications, and (3) a targeted drug for purposes of provisions of the national youth anti-drug media campaign under the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998.”

Members of Congress Tell US Attorney Back Off Medical Marijuana Prosecutions – In a released excerpt from their letter, Reps. Barbara Lee, George Miller, Sam Farr, and Eric Swalwell tell Haag that the “harassment and constant threat of prosecution should end.”

Medical Marijuana Provider Becomes Sebastopol, CA Mayor – The Sebastopol City Council voted Tuesday to seat Vice Mayor and medical marijuana community leader Robert Jacob as Mayor of Sebastopol.  Jacob, 36, founder and executive director of Peace in Medicine, two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries — one in Sebastopol, the other in Santa Rosa — was Vice Mayor for his first year before becoming mayor.

First Cannabis Retail License Issued in CO – What is being called “the world’s first-ever marijuana retail license” was issued in Central City, Colorado on Thursday. The recipient of the local license, Annie’s, which is currently operating as a medical marijuana center, still must receive its state license. Businesses in localities across Colorado are scheduled to begin selling marijuana to adults 21 and older starting January 1, 2014.

4 US Cities Legalize Recreational Marijuana by HUGE Margins — Election Day 2013 found four US cities — Portland, Maine and Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing, Michigan — voting on proposals to decriminalize or legalize personal possession of marijuana. In all four cities, marijuana reform passed by overwhelming margins.

For the 1st Time Majority of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana – For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization.

First US Hemp Harvest in Half a Century Begins — America’s first (known) hemp harvest in more than fifty years began in October  in southeastern Colorado. This past spring, following last year’s passage of Amendment 64, which legalized small amounts of marijuana for adults and paved the way for industrial hemp production. Last week, hemp advocates from across the country came to watch as farmers harvested the first plants by hand.

Justice Dept Won’t Challenge WA & CO Legalization Laws — The Obama administration said it wouldn’t challenge state laws in Colorado and Washington that allow recreational marijuana use, in the latest victory for the movement to decriminalize the drug.  The decision clears the way for the states to move ahead in implementing their laws and limits the vulnerability of marijuana dealers there to federal prosecution, so long as they comply with state regulations.

Justice Dept to Kill Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Nonviolent Drug Offenders –  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced major criminal justice reforms in a speech Monday aimed at curbing the use of mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders.

Passage of Medical Marijuana Laws Associated with Lower Traffic Fatalities –  The passage of medical cannabis laws is associated with a reduction in the public’s consumption of alcohol and with fewer incidences of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, according to data published in the Journal of Law and Economics.  Investigators at Montana State University, the University of Oregon, and the University of Colorado assessed data regarding both alcohol consumption and traffic fatality rates for the years 1990 to 2010.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Apologizes for Opposing Marijuana Legalization in the Past — “I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”

Illinois Becomes 20th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana –  In August Illinois officially became the 20th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana.  At a ceremony at the University of Chicago, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill while joined by Jim Champion, a military veteran who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

New Hampshire Becomes 19th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana — Gov. Maggie Hassan on Tuesday signed a bill into law making New Hampshire the 19th state to allow residents with serious illnesses to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

CBDs in Cannabis Show Promise Fighting Cancer — More than five years ago, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center began focusing their attention on CBD, and they now believe they are ready for human trials, using the compound to treat metastatic cancer.

Obama Admin Spends 180K Per Day Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws — In 2011 and 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spent four percent of its budget on the medical marijuana crackdown. Having conducted at least 270 paramilitary-style raids during the past four years, Obama’s DEA spent approximately $8 million to carry them out. However, the amount of taxpayer dollars spent on raids was dwarfed by the amount spent on investigative efforts preceding raids, indictments, and lawsuits, which has totaled more than $200 million.

Maryland Legalizes Medical Marijuana –  Maryland became the 19th state to approve medical marijuana. Governor Martin O’Malley will sign the legislation at a ceremony Thursday.  The medical pot bill establishes “academic medical research centers” that will act as dispensaries for qualified patients. However, it is unclear when the program will be fully operational. Some have projected that Maryland will not implement the program until 2016.

Kentucky Hemp Bill Passes in Final Hour — An amended bill to legalize industrial hemp production by Kentucky farmers — if the federal government allows it — was passed by the Kentucky Legislature in the final minutes of this year’s regular session.

Supreme Court Limits Police Use of Drug Sniffing Dogs — The Supreme Court in March limited the ability of police to use a trained dog to sniff around the outside of a home for illegal drugs that might be inside.

Federal Appeals Court Fails to Reschedule Marijuana — The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a ruling last January in the medical marijuana reclassification case, Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration. In a 2-1 decision, the Court granted standing in the case — the right to bring a claim against the federal government — but denied the legal challenge on the merits, agreeing with the government’s assertion that “adequate and well-controlled studies” on the medical efficacy of marijuana do not exist.


About Author

Leave A Reply